CCT is battlegound for ‘Red Velvet Cake War’

by By Josie Fox

It is war at the Cherokee Civic Theater in Rusk. A ‘Red Velvet Cake War’ to be exact.

For the final main stage production of this season, CCT presents the ‘Red Velvet Cake War’ by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten. Production dates are May 3, 4, 11 and 12. Friday and Saturday shows will begin at 7:30 p.m. and the final show on Sunday will begin at 2 p.m.

This Southern-fried comedy follows the antics of Verdeen cousins, Gaynelle, Jimmie Wyvette and Peaches, as they attempt to host the best family reunion ever in the midst of physiologic evaluations, impending tornados and a cake-judging contest that could leave Gaynelle without a house. Add to it, a parade of widely eccentric characters and everything coming to a head on the hottest day of July in Sweetgum, Texas.

The production is spearheaded and directed by Josie Fox and assistant director Brittany Lankford with Judy Faye Garner filling the role of producer.

“This play is the third Hope, Jones and Wooten play I have been involved with at CCT, but Red Velvet is by far the most comical,” said Fox. “The characters are widely lovable and you can’t help but get caught up in the action as you root for the Verdeen cousins to come out on top.”

The cast includes Sheilah O’Heaney as Cee Cee Windham, Amy McCalister as Gaynelle Verdeen Bodeen, Diki Parker

as LaMerle Verdeen Minshew, Tony Williams as Aubrey Verdeen, Cristin Parker as Jimmie Wyvette Verdeen, Michelle Dillon as Bitsy Hargis, John Earle as Newt Blaylock, Steve Goode as Sheriff Grover Lout, Jonell Arrington as Elsa Dowdall, Mya Gunter-Gowden as Mama Doll Hargis, Alec Christiansen as Purvis Verdeen and Josie Fox as Peaches Verdeen Belrose.

“Our final production will be on Mother’s Day and with some of the special events we have planned, a trip to the theater to watch the play will be a perfect way to treat that special mom in your life,” said Fox.

A few gifts, donated by Ally Bee’s and Flowers by Janae, will be given away prior to the start of the show and special concession treats will be offered at no charge during intermission.

“We really hope to see a big crowd during each of the four performances. The cast and crew have put in a lot of hours and energy to make this a great show. For me, personally, this has been a very challenging experience filling the role of both director and being in the cast,” said Fox.

Tickets are on sale and can be purchased at; by phone at (903) 683-2131; or at the box office. The box office will open May 1 and will be open from 3-5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday each week of production and one hour before each performance. Advance tickets for all shows are $10 for students and $13 for adults. At the door tickets are $15 each. Discounts for groups are available.